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After two years of planning, local wildlife conservation and education nonprofit Think Wild is starting construction on its Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center in Bend. The organization expects the new facility to care for up to 250 patients (mammals, waterfowl and raptors) from around Central and Eastern Oregon in its first year.
Phase I of construction is now in progress, with demolition of building interiors at its four-acre property east of Bend complete and a contractor on-site. New plumbing, electrical and fixtures; an enhanced floor plan and an increase in square footage are all designed to enhance animal care and workflow.
“The Wildlife Hospital will fill an unmet need in the region, providing treatment and rehabilitation of a variety of native wildlife, as our growing community encroaches on critical habitats and conflicts with humans increase,” says Executive Director Michelle van Hilten. “This essential community resource has been made possible by our dedicated staff and board, volunteer support, donors and Founder’s Circle members, a family foundation and in-kind help from Johnson Brothers Appliances.”
Think Wild’s mission is to inspire the High Desert community to care for and protect native wildlife through education, conservation and rescue and rehabilitation. Led by a new executive director and an experienced board of directors, Think Wild has worked purposefully over the years to build a strong foundation to support the region’s wildlife and its habitats today and well into the future. The organization provides a Wildlife Hotline (541-241-8680) to assist community members who encounter injured or orphaned wildlife.
Phase II of construction — planned for later in the year, will allow an increase in capacity for intake of different types of species, expanded enrichment and conditioning programs to further ensure successful release, and better naturalization of enclosures — all placing strong emphasis on reducing stress to wildlife during human care while at the facility.
Think Wild invites community support for Phase II and in preparation for the hospital opening. You can contribute to the Wildlife Hospital by helping with hospital supplies, becoming a Founder’s Circle member and/or volunteering. Think Wild will be announcing a work party and open house soon for the community to come see progress on the build, pitch in and learn more about the organization.